Document Type

Working Paper

Repository Date



Religious, Establishment, Autonomy, Greenawalt, Personal Autonomy

Subject Categories

Constitutional Law | Law | Religion Law


Kent Greenawalt claims that one rationale for nonestablishment of religion is personal autonomy. If, however, the law is barred from manipulating people in religious directions (and thus violating their autonomy), while it remains free to manipulate them in nonreligious directions (and thus violate their autonomy in exactly the same way), autonomy as such is not what is being protected. The most promising alternative is to understand religion as a distinctive human good that is being protected from government interference.